Is there such a thing as a True Original?

kelly corrigan
2 min readAug 28, 2021

There are not many plausible explanations for this: for many hundreds of years of running as sport, no one on earth could run a mile in under 4 minutes. And then in 1954, Roger Bannister could, and then lots more people could. 1400 and counting.

Maybe there was some critical evolutionary step forward that allowed this to happen. Or maybe the mere suggestion that it was possible made it so for more people.

I’m no runner. When I was growing up, if you looked at my journals, starting in seventh grade, all I wanted was to grow out of my training bra, make the lacrosse team and write books. The problem was I didn’t know a single person who had written a book. I didn’t even know the difference between an editor, an agent and a publisher — and I didn’t one person who did.

Then I got married and as it turned out, my new sister-in-law’s best friend Jack was an agent at ICM. He told me how it all works and over the next couple years, I wrote the book that became the bestseller that put a left turn my career path.

I know people who went to college instead of work, even though no one in their family or neighborhood did that.

I know people who start tech companies even though everyone they grow up with is still back in Nebraska working on family farms.

I know people who parent their children beautifully even though they themselves were abused, verbally, physically, sexually…

I consider these people true originals.

But if you ask them, they will tell you they spied someone, someone to watch, to learn from, to follow. Someone they knew ran a mile in under 4 minutes and it made them think maybe they might try.



kelly corrigan

New York Times bestselling author, host of new podcast: Kelly Corrigan Wonders and PBS show: Tell Me More with Kelly Corrigan